With the homeless numbers in the San Gabriel Valley skyrocketing, one Los Angeles County supervisor is pushing "tough love," hoping to clean up streets and sidewalks while offering housing and storage options.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger says she supports the Board of Supervisors' efforts to expand homeless housing and support services, but says the growing number of those on the street is posing a serious health concern that needs to be addressed.
"That may mean doing more hygiene stations," Barger told Eyewitness News. "But it's also going to mean more cleaning up the trash in these encampments where you have a lot of people living and not cleaning up after themselves, defecating on the streets and we need to take back control of our areas."
The homeless population in the San Gabriel Valley is up 24% from last year, twice the growth rate that L.A. County as a whole saw over the same time period.
And it's not just encampments tucked under freeway overpasses or in desolate fields. The homeless are now popping up in places like Monrovia's Library Park, where Anne Pavlik was watching her grandchildren play.
"It's frustrating," Pavlik said. "And I wish the people that we elected could find answers that were effective and compassionate."
L.A. County's Measure H was supposed to do just that. Since the sale tax increase went into effect, the county has raised $460 million in revenue for homeless projects.
Barger says once housing and other services are readily available, camps set up in public places need to be cleared out.
"I'm willing to put together a program where we can allow them to store their belongings, but recognize that we're going to offer them a bed," said Barger. "If they don't accept it, we're going to store their belongings and we're going to clean up the streets."
San Gabriel Valley homeless outpace county numbers
HOMELESS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
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